D Nikolls wrote:Interesting..
That money would buy 2 huge chest freezers, a bunch of canning jars, build an enormous dehydrator, and leave some to start a root cellar..
Very different end results I would expect; Richard, can you comment on the food quality vs frozen, canned, and dehydrated foods, rather than commercially freeze-dried?
I've looked at the freeze driers myself in the past and more recently have a friend of a friend who got one. As a result through my friend I have been sampling some of the wares. :) The food quality of freeze dried things is certainly different. Fruit, in my opinion, pretty much turns into irresistible crunchy candy that is totally healthy to eat in abundance! As Richard noted it is said that most of the nutrients are maintained as well with this form of preservation.
As a hard core frugalist I'm not as convinced about the money savings aspect of these. Certainly if one was already buying and consuming freeze dried foods on a regular basis with the high prices they command it would make sense to invest in the equipment to do your own. I suspect this is not the case for most of us. A move to eating a lot of freeze dried foods would be a move to eating more expensively whether you do it yourself or purchase commercially dried stuff. If reducing your food expenses is the goal there are FAR better ways to do that. Getting to know dried beans/legumes and eating seasonally/locally available foods comes to mind as a great place to start.
From a permaculture/environmental standpoint I would think canning or normal dehydrating would be much better. The levels of technology, materials, and energy needed to process and store the foods would be much lower. If you want to keep the freeze dried foods for any period of time you also need to seal them in some way that air/moisture doesn't get to them. Generally that involved a lot of plastics, often one time use plastic at that.
Having said all that, if I'm being honest the only reason I don't have one myself is because my homestead is off-grid solar. Were I still grid tied I'm pretty sure I would have dropped the cash to get one by now!